Article - Agriculture
(a) (1) State cost sharing in any project may be made available for up to 87.5% of eligible costs, not to exceed a dollar amount of up to $200,000 as determined by a regulation adopted jointly by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Environment.
(2) State cost–sharing funds may be made available for any project if:
(i) The Department of Agriculture, the soil conservation district, and a person have executed an agreement which, among other things, obligates the person to:
1. Establish, construct, or install the best management practice or fixed natural filter practice in accordance with technical specifications;
2. Maintain the best management practice or fixed natural filter practice for its expected life span; and
3. Provide the required matching funds for the project;
(ii) The Board of Public Works has given approval to the project when the proceeds of State bonds are to be used to finance the State share; and
(iii) The soil conservation district has certified to the Department that the project meets all applicable technical standards, and that all submitted invoices properly represent eligible costs.
(3) A reduction in State cost–sharing rates for riparian forest buffers, riparian herbaceous cover, wetland restoration, or pasture management may not be based on tons of soil saved or an amortization formula.
(4) State cost–sharing rates for pasture management shall be based on the applicable rate established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
(5) State cost–sharing rates paid for the planting of multiple species of cover crops shall equal or exceed the rates paid for the planting of a single species of cover crop.
(6) (i) 1. Except as authorized under subsubparagraph 2 of this subparagraph and before the Department of Agriculture executes a cost–sharing agreement with a farm tenant, it shall obtain the consent of the landlord to the terms and conditions of the agreement.
2. The Department may execute the agreement without the consent of the landlord if:
A. The agreement concerns a short–term project that involves only the planting of a cover crop; and
B. The Department has sent by first–class mail written notice of a cover crop project to the landlord at least 10 calendar days before executing the agreement for the first cover crop project during the term of the lease.
(ii) The Department may also require the granting to the State of an appropriate security interest in any equipment, structures or similar items purchased with State money.
(7) A cost–sharing agreement executed as required under this subtitle may be assigned and transferred to a successor in title of all or part of a tract of land subject to a best management practice.
(b) (1) State cost–sharing funds shall be disbursed, on warrant of the Comptroller, only after the Department has determined that the best management practice or fixed natural filter practice has been established, or in the case of equipment, structures, or similar items, that it has been received and properly installed.
(2) Payment may be made either to the person when the person has advanced money, or directly to a vendor or contractor in accordance with the written agreement required by this section, or supplemental written agreements with the vendor or contractor.
(c) (1) (i) Except as provided in subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Environment shall jointly adopt regulations to implement this subtitle.
(ii) Regulations solely involving internal management of the cost–sharing program need only be adopted by the Secretary of Agriculture.
(iii) The Department of Natural Resources shall be consulted before any regulations are adopted to assure coordination with its sediment control and related watershed programs.
(2) All regulations adopted under this section shall be approved by the Board of Public Works prior to the use of the proceeds of State bonds in the cost–sharing program.
(3) The Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Environment may enter into agreements with appropriate federal and local governmental entities to assist in administering this subtitle.